God is Forming the People He Will Call His Own
As the final day of Assembly 2012 began, Bishop Rennis Ponniah of the Diocese of Singapore shared part three of his Bible teaching on the book of Isaiah. After revealing a fresh vision of God on Thursday and a fresh vision for the Church on Friday, he offered a fresh vision of the times drawn from Isaiah chapter 60 as Assembly concluded.
Ponniah emphasized Isaiah 60:19, explaining that for Isaiah, light is the metaphor of salvation: “The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.”
But according to Bishop Ponniah, we are living in the in-between times: “Salvation has been accomplished and yet the fullness of salvation has not been experienced…We must await the return of our King.” Ponniah continued, saying, “God has chosen not to remove the forces of darkness but to harness them…to form the people that he will call his own.”
God is fulfilling his prophesy as we go out to bring people into His kingdom and as people come in and become members of God’s household, but it is not yet complete, he said. However, one day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess.
Ponniah asked the question, “What are we to do in the in-between times?” He said the answer is to “persevere” and urged attendees to “keep justice and do righteousness.” For now we move forward and slip back, said Ponniah, but Isaiah speaks of future “permanent transformation” and the “language is everlasting.”
Ponniah said we live with the knowledge of a glorious future, in which we will be complete in Christ. We smile through adversity because, “I’ve got a home in glory land that outshines the sun.”
“For every heartbreak that you experience in the in-between times there will come a day when God will wipe away every tear and there will be sorrow no more,” said Ponniah. “That gives us courage and hope and puts a spring in our witness.”
Bishop Ponniah urged attendees, “Don’t forget the classical confession of your faith and the commitment not only to believe in Jesus, but to follow Him.” He thanked God for the Anglican Church in North America’s “faithful witness to stand up for truth. I commend you, continue in this way,” he said. He then pressed us as the Body of Christ to “arise, shine” because God is at work and people are being changed. “As we yield to the kingdom of God, His light shines through us,” he said
Ponniah noted “all idols must crash as we live in the in-between times” and told us not to be timid, but to be confident in communicating the Gospel. “We have a great heritage; we need a Holy Spirit boldness… We can only arise and shine if the Holy Spirit is upon us,” Ponniah stated.
In closing, Ponniah prayed for the worldwide Church, “Father, we ask for a revival…refresh us by Your Spirit and send us forth to shine for Christ in His name.”